A ruling has been issued that the KEC, a semiconductor parts maker in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, should compensate for damages it inflicted on the union by engaging in unfair labor practices.
Last month, the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of some of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by members of the KEC branch of the Gumi branch of the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) against the KEC.
Under the ruling, the KEC is required to pay 4 million won to the KMWU and 400,000 won each to some 100 workers. The objects for the claim included Kwak Jung-so, chairman of the KEC Group, and Hwang Chang-sup, the chief executive officer of the KEC.
According to the court, the KEC drew up a document titled "strategies to respond to workplace shutdown" in June 2010 when the union went on strike. In February 2011, when the strike was continuing, it also drew up documents called "roadmap for the restructuring of manpower" and "work strategy by scenario."
"If we look at the documents and others, it is reasonable to think that unfair labor practices (from 2010 to early 2012) were systematically reviewed and implemented by the company," the court said.
"Considering the fact that the KEC moved to layoffs from the intention of taking unfair action against members of the KEC branch, and that many of the strikers were set up to be dismissed based on the criteria for selection of fired workers, the defendants' actions constitute an unfair labor act," it said.
"The ruling is meaningful in that it acknowledged illegal activities and held Chairman Kwak Jung-so and others responsible for damages, which were never criminally punished in the process of the KEC union's destruction in 2010," the union.
Meanwhile, KEC, is causing public uproar by providing workers with meals priced at $1.4 dollars per unit price.
According to a report by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on May 29, the KEC branch of Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) criticized the company, saying "The breakfast that was distributed on May 23 was rice, kimchi, meatball, yogurt and soup. It is too poor. I can't work after eating this meal."
"In the past, chicken legs used to be a common specialty, but now they are worse. Noodles, kimchi, ramen and pickled radish. Is there a place where more than 600 people work providing ramen for a meal?"
In the case of Seoul Metropolitan Government, the standard unit price for meals is 3 dollars for public elementary schools, 3.8 dollars for national and private elementary schools and 4.4 dollars for middle and high schools.
The cost of meals at the KEC is less than one-third of that at middle and high schools in Seoul. According to a recent survey of the employees' satisfaction with eating, 77 percent said they were unhappy with the meal.
"Although commodity prices are going up, the unit price has been unchanged. Accordingly, the materials are mostly processed foods, and the quality of the meal is going to decrease," the KEC branch said.
Lee Jong-hee, the branch head, said, "We have been making demands to improve the quality of our meals for many years, but the management has not accepted the demand."
When the picture of the meal was released on SNS, some employees said, "No, it's not a snack." "Is it right that we live in the 21st century?" "Is this what management officials eat?"